Roundup artist Troy Evans hasn’t given up on his wood sculptures inspired by 14th century Moorish culture.
Rather, he’s using his furniture building skills and eye for sculpture and architectural design to revive an art movement known as architectonics, developed by a Russian artist in 1913. In his new exhibit at the Chinatown Gallery, 2624 Minnesota Ave., Evans will show 12 paintings and architectonics pieces for the Feb. 7 ArtWalk.
One thing’s for certain, loading works into a gallery just got a whole lot easier for Evans who is known for building massive conference tables and wood columns.
The new two-dimensional works, which Evans has been focusing on for the past couple of years, have lines called kerfs that he cuts into maximum density fiberboard using a router or sliding table saw. He’s also experimenting with using marble and silver dust to add texture to the new works.
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One piece, titled “Through the Window of the Guggenheim,” has a dominant diagonal line across the bottom that Evans said symbolizes the ramp that takes viewers through the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Through a pattern of horizontal and vertical lines, the piece is divided into colorful squares, some of which were painted separately and then attached to the board.
“I’m on the verge of being constructionalism. I like to think of it as building a painting,” Evans said.
Evans doesn’t get to experiment with so much color in his
sculptural wood pieces so the new works are a refreshing change for him.
“I have a lot of fun creating the colors. What’s amazing to me is the way colors change when you mix in the right chemicals,” Evans said.
The quick pace gives him that instant gratification that Evans said artists crave. He can finish a two-dimensional piece in a few hours, verses the three to six months it takes to complete a wood sculpture. Because the prices are considerably lower on the 2-D pieces, Evans is happy that his customer base is growing.
“The paintings and architectonics pieces start at $160 and go up to $5,000,” Evans said. “That is much different than my sculptural work, which is $15,000 and up.”
Evans was encouraged to create less-expensive pieces, which he calls coffee cup works, through a program offered by the Montana Arts Council to help artists increase their business. At his first show where Evans debuted the new paintings at the Roundup Memorial Hospital in 2012, at least 36 out the 54 pieces sold and he received 16 commissions.
The works in the Chinatown Gallery show will include a wall-size piece, using abstract shapes surrounding the portrait of a futuristic-looking woman. Evans refers to it as his Avatar piece, but the official title is “Jesus, the United States and the Blue Eyed Native.” The oil on canvas work, which is 5 feet by 9 feet, has blocks of lime green paint, including one on the woman’s chin, his favorite.
When Evans first tried out painting, he got critical input from his wife, Coila Evans, who is an oil painter. He also tapped into the strong community of artists in Roundup and received valuable feedback from established artists painters like Joe Trakimas.
Gallery owners, including Chinatown owner Fred DeFauw, said they are fascinated with the new techniques that Evans is using.
“It’s such a cool direction for Troy,” DeFauw said.